Joe Gieringer, Senior Staff Writer

Following a Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) regular season championship, an NCAA playoff berth and a CCHA Coach of the Year award, Miami University has rewritten hockey Head Coach Enrico Blasi’s contract, extending his tenure for at least another 10 years.

“Miami holds a special place in my heart, having both played and coached here, and I am delighted and honored that President Hodge, Mr. Sayler and the entire University administration has placed faith in me to lead this program for the foreseeable future,” Blasi said in a press release. “We are excited to be heading into the National Collegiate Hockey Conference that will provide us new challenges and I am thankful for the opportunity to lead this great program going forward. We will continue to strive towards our ultimate goal of a national championship.”

Blasi, a 1994 Miami graduate, has completed 14 seasons at the helm of the RedHawks, going 311-196-53 in that span. He’s Miami’s winningest coach, and is 16th all-time among active coaches in Division I NCAA hockey. He won the Spencer Penrose National Coach of the Year Award for the 2005-06 season, and has won the CCHA Coach of the Year Award five times, which is second-most in CCHA history.

Under the conditions of the previous agreement, Blasi’s future with the RedHawks was guaranteed through the 2016-17 season. After being approached by Athletic Director David Sayler towards the end of the year, the pair rewrote the contract with input from General Counselor Robin Parker and President Hodge, one that retains Blasi’s services through the 2022-2023 season.

“In essence, what we’ve done is ripped up the last four years and started over with a ten year contract for Rico, one that ensures stability for his family and also for our hockey program,” Saylor said. “When you think about the embodiment of what we want at Miami, which is our kids graduating and winning championships, hockey is certainly in the right place to signify that’s working here at Miami.”

As far as the team is concerned, the players are thrilled to hear their coach will be around to mentor future editions of the Brotherhood. Sophomore forward Austin Czarnik and freshman forward Sean Kuraly provided vocal support for the leader of their program and his future.

“Everyone is happy about it, and obviously guys coming in later years will be happy about it, too,” Czarnik said. “He’s here for a reason. He’s done everything right, won championships, so it’s great for the program to have him back.”

Kuraly agreed and added his general attitude is another reason for the success the hockey team has found on and off the ice.

“He’s someone you can joke around with and have fun with, but when it’s time to work he’s going to expect you to work, and that’s the relationship he wants to have with the guys,” Kuraly said. “You know, it seems to work well.”

Next year will be an early test for the program as they head into this new era of hockey under Blasi. The eyes of the program are on the highest prize: a national championship. With this new contract inked, it appears that Miami has taken its first, necessary step towards the pinnacle of NCAA hockey greatness.

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